Monday, July 06, 2009

Ask the organiser about managing priorities on to-do lists

Happy Monday everybody!

I work off of "To Do" lists and I prioritize all my projects ABCD... using the system from Swallow that Frog. My to do list keeps getting invaded with other projects and requests.

How do I maintain my lists so that they are effective? Everyone and everything wants to be in my A file and I can't find my balance. Do you have any suggestions?

Marcie Rowan

Hi Marcie

Yes, I have some suggestions.

1. Get really clear on your main purpose/ focus for your life at this point
This purpose may change from time to time, or it may not, but it's still a good idea to check in with yourself regularly to make sure you still know what that purpose is.

E.g. this year my main purpose has been to have a healthy pregnancy and birth two live babies.

2. Use only one to-do list
When you use multiple lists, it's very easy to forget about some things on "the other list". I understand about different categories of things so what I do is I have one list with sub-headings like Personal, Business and Household. I can still see it all but it is ordered on paper and therefore in my mind.

3. Only put things on your to-do list that support your purpose
If your purpose is to create a loving, clean, organised home for your family, then you can't be serving on every committee in sight and never spend time taking care of your home.

4. Once things are on your list, eat your frog or, as you call it, swallow your frog
This is where your ABCD system comes in. Or what I use with my clients, the time-value matrix where you focus on urgent and important tasks only.

Do your difficult but most important tasks first. If you hate doing the laundry (like me!), just do it to get it out of the way.

I can't tell you what should be an A priority because we're all different. But I can tell you that tasks which don't support any of your goals are definitely not A priorities.

5. Don't overload your lists
Pick a maximum of 6 tasks a day. When you sign up for the Organising Success Pack, you get a pack of organising forms. My Eat the Frog form only has space for 6 daily items for two very good reasons.

And that's because
  1. Most people can't get more than 6 important tasks done daily (including me!)
  2. I want you to feel good at the end of every day so rather putfewer tasks and actually get them done

Marcie, hope this helped!

Anybody have any more tips for Marcie? How do you manage your priorities on your own to-do lists?

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